Wednesday, 1 February 2017

New Partner! - With Love From

 

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will remember that last year I launched a selection of personalised handmade items through my Etsy shop. I have been so busy with design work over the last year that unfortunately I just don't have time to make products myself at the moment. 


Never fear though! I have now teamed up exclusively with the wonderful people at withlovefrom.com to bring you a brand new selection of personalised gifts illustrated with my 'Bright Hearts' designs. And my products couldn't be in better hands. With Love From is a family run company who have been experts in engraving and printing personalised products for many years. I love their philosophy:

We believe there's nothing more special than the feeling you get when somebody gives you a really thoughtful gift. One that really means something to both the giver and the recipient... We want to help people create and celebrate memories and to give gifts that make the recipient just say "wow". (Withlovefrom.com)


About 'Bright Hearts' 

I designed the Bright Hearts range as an antidote to traditional 'soppy' gift ranges, creating a variety of fun sentiments by combining brightly coloured and modern hearts or geometric prints with quirky hand drawn lettering. There is something to appeal to all personality types, whether sentimental or a little more tongue in cheek! You will find gifts perfect to celebrate Valentine’s day, engagements, weddings and anniversaries (or even just to let your Mum know that you care!) All products in the range have an area to personalise meaning that your gift is always unique and completely personal to the recipient. The launch range includes personalised mugs, photo frames, wall art, cufflinks and a delightful card and coaster combo! View all the products below or shop the whole range here.

Photo Frames



I must admit I'm a bit in love with this wooden photo frame, which is engraved with my geometric hearts illustration and 'I love you' hand lettering. 


Also available is this super bright printed photo frame featuring 'You're my favourite' lettering and my bold geometric print.  


Wall Art

Whatever the occasion, there is a design that is perfect to tell someone that you care. Available in a variety of heart and geometric prints combined with fashionable hand lettering, sentiments include - 'I love you'; 'I love that thing you do'; 'You're my favourite'; 'I get a kick out of you' and 'You're my gorgeous'.

All designs are sublimation printed onto a photo print quality gloss finish aluminium plate before being mounted in a stylish 22cm x 22cm square black or white frame, which creates a shadow to make the colours really stand out.







Designs are also available to celebrate that special occasion, such as a wedding, anniversary (or just because...) including 'Mr & Mrs' and 'He put a ring on it'.



Coaster Card

One of my favourite items in the range is this coaster card, which combines a greetings card and a gift to keep all in one! (I have a thing for coasters...)


 Mugs

(...I also have a thing for mugs!) Choose from designs that state 'I love you' or 'I love that thing you do.' 




'Mr' and 'Mrs' mugs are available to buy separately, or you can get a discount when buying a pair in any combination of 'Mr' and 'Mrs', 'Mr' and 'Mr' or 'Mrs' and 'Mrs'. All the mugs, along with all the products have an area to personalise to make your gift completely unique. 






Cufflinks

I am also super-excited by the addition of cufflinks to the With Love From range! My designs have featured on many products in the past, but this is the very first time on cufflinks! There are a variety of designs, which all include my bright and whimsical prints. Each design has an area to personalise with initials and is mounted on beautiful silver plated cufflinks, which are resin coated for durability and a shiny finish. 






Follow my blog and Facebook page to keep up to date with product launches and more!

You can also check out the With Love From Facebook page here.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Art Licensing Show - and 'The Monthly Challenge'!


Some of you may know that I'm a member of the Art Licensing Show website from my previous Christmas blog post. This is a great site where artists / designers pay a fee to host their portfolios in a completely private way. (We have to be soooo careful about posting too much publicly online as things sadly do get stolen). Art directors can sign up for free and I can then connect and share my work with any company that I feel might be a good fit for my brand. I love the fact that I have complete control over who can view my work. My portfolio is obviously also hosted by my agents, Jewel Branding, but this is an excellent additional way to strike up new art licensing relationships. The above image shows my thumbnail from the site and is all images from my 'Tea Party' collection. If you haven't discovered Art Licensing Show yet you can find out more about how it works here.

Another great aspect of the site is the other artist connections I've made. Everyone is so friendly and it's a lovely supportive community where many ideas are shared. There are a number of groups on the site where we can discuss anything from industry news and trend prediction to tabletop and greetings cards, but one of my favourites is the 'ALSC monthly art challenge.' As the name suggests most months we are given a brief to help us build our portfolios. For example, in June we were tasked with creating a new typography piece based on our favourite quotes. I chose to add to my 'Well Hello There!' art licensing collection with a new piece, 'Live Life In Full Bloom'. I love the idea of living life to the full, but also this quote meant I got to doodle some flowers, which I always enjoy! :-)


The challenge in August was to design a bookmark with a coastal theme. I absolutely love beach huts, so this was my summery entry... (I found it surprisingly difficult to illustrate within such a small space!)



Sometimes there is an added competition element where designs are judged by art directors on the site. This month's challenge is especially for surface pattern designers and will be judged by the amazing people at Robert Kaufman fabrics. I would absolutely love to license my designs onto fabric at some point in the future so the opportunity to get work in front of these very influential art directors is a must! The brief is to design something with a Valentine's theme, so I am entering some of the very girly pieces from my new range 'Something Special'. It doesn't have a traditional Valentine's colour pallet, but I hope it is suitably soft and romantic for an alternative Valentine feel. Fingers crossed they like it!


Talking of fabric, my agents have been very busy this weekend at Quilt Market in Houston showing all of my new and existing art licensing collections to potential licensing partners. I've been really busy over the last few months creating lots of lovely new designs for this, but that are also suitable for licensing across many other types of product. If you missed the show, but would like to view my portfolio please contact beth@jewelbranding.com  

Sunday, 9 October 2016

My Design Process - 'Something Special'


As a designer I often get asked how I create my images and if I draw everything by hand. I thought it might be fun to answer these questions in this blog post to give you a quick overview of the process of how I work to create my designs. 

At the moment I'm working on a new range of greetings cards, which is something a bit different for me... but the process for each design is similar to how I work for creating all surface pattern designs or placement graphics for products. The starting point is always an idea. Sometimes this comes in the form of a client brief and sometimes it's the spark of an idea in my head. For these greetings cards I decided I wanted to create a range of cards based on my existing typography range, 'Well Hello There!', but with sentiments that were more focussed on the greetings card market. Often at this stage I create an ideas board, but because the look of the new range is to follow existing designs I simply reviewed the existing work as shown above and researched the greetings market. After making a list of possible different sentiments to include in my new range I set to work in my sketchbook...


So do I draw everything by hand? - The answer is yes! Every design I create starts out as a doodle or a sketch. Normally I will roughly mark designs out in pencil working out the layout / composition... I like to have fun with typography letting my imagination run wild to draw whatever letter shapes pop into my head. I also love geometrics and these often creep into my compositions!


Then once I am happy I outline everything using my trusty fineliner pens! I like to create wonky lines as I feel these give my designs texture and character, so I use a very fine nib, but go back over the lines several times before block filling large areas with a Sharpie and adding any extra detail the design requires. 


At this stage I transfer the design from my sketchbook to my computer to work it up into final artwork. Once in Adobe Illustrator I use the 'Live Trace' function, which converts my drawing into a fully scalable vector file, which is ideal for factories to work from because it can be easily re-sized to fit any product without losing any of my original detail, or the warm appeal of my original hand drawn image. It is also an ideal format for me to add colour. 


I can quickly and easily try out different colour pallets until I find the one that best suits my design. I love to use bright and vibrant colour combinations that really make my designs stand out! For this range I decided to use the same pallet as 'Well Hello There!', but I have mixed the colours together differently within each piece to create a range that has a real colour pop!
When I have chosen a colour pallet I am happy with I can set to work colouring each element of the design individually. 


This is also a perfect time to add in extra textures. I love to create a slight distressed look to my artwork and often use a textured background grid as part of my signature style. This stage takes time and patience, but because I use pantone colours it means that my finished artwork not only looks fun and appealing, but all my designs are factory ready, which makes things much easier for manufacturers when it comes to using my designs across different products for production.

When I am happy that the design is ready, my final stage is to create a mock-up visual in Adobe Photoshop of how the design will look as a product ready for presentation. 

This card celebrates moving house and is part of my brand new range called 'Something Special'. 

If you are an art director / manufacturer who would like to review my portfolio please contact my agents, Jewel Branding & Licensing for further information. 
(Beth Franklin - beth@jewelbranding.com) 


Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Back To School!



Today is the first day back for many UK schools after the long summer break. Part of going back for me was always the excitement of buying new school stationery - I have always LOVED buying new pens and trying them out to see what effects I can create!

My first design job was working in-house for stationery company, Helix, which was so much fun as I got to work on all the new product development for all their lovely back to school stationery each year. The company is now Maped-Helix, but they remain one of my favourite freelance clients as the design briefs they give me are always so creative and fun!

Maped-Helix recently sent me some of their 'Graph'Peps' fine point pens to try out, which come under their Maped brand.* In honour of the back to school period I thought I would make a little doodle film to show what they are like to draw with. The film shows the first time I used them, so you can see I took to them quite easily - they allow lots of control. My favourite was the black, because I always prefer to draw in black ink. I get scared at having to make colour decisions on the spot, which is one of the reasons I normally colour on the computer as it lets me change my mind until I get the perfect colour combination. However, there are 20 different colours in my pack, so I decided to be brave and try some (- not all!) of them out. I used two different shades of pale blue, yellow, lime green, lilac and the brightest pink, but there are lots of other colours to choose from! The pen nibs are 0.4mm, which creates quite a fine line, but by going back over the same line and outlining it you can create lots of different line effects. The ink flow is strong meaning that as well as outlining designs you can also use them to colour in areas too. There may be too much ink coming out of the nib for super-fine work, but for bold graphic designs like my doodle they are great!




Wishing everyone who is back to school this week a very happy term. (Not long until Christmas!)

Music by bensound.com
*Please note Maped-Helix have not paid me to review this product.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Surtex and Licensing Expo Recap


It's been great to hear from my agents, Jewel Branding, that the summer shows at Surtex, New York and Licensing Expo, Las Vegas were a resounding success with lots of exciting companies visiting the stand and many of them choosing to view my portfolio with the possibility of becoming licensing partners in the near future! Jewel have kindly shared with me some photos of their booths, which I'm sure you'll agree looked absolutely fantastic!



First, are some images of the booth at Surtex, where each of the Jewel designers were asked to format their designs into hexagons, which were then used to create a really striking stand display. How many of my designs can you spot in the photos below?!







And below are images of the stand at Licensing Expo, where some of my designs were shown on large digital display screens.  






If you missed the shows, but would like to view my full portfolio please contact Beth Franklin - beth@jewelbranding.com 

Photographs copyright Jewel Branding & Licensing. All artwork copyright Vicky Yorke, Vicky Yorke Designs.